Wellbeing. The buzz word that has been around for years. But how important is it? And more importantly, what does it mean for your employees?
Employee health and wellbeing is a vital weapon in order to make your business successful. Putting your people at the heart of your business helps to inspire productive and smart work.
75.5% of adults are in employment, on average spending a third of their waking hours in the workplace. Evidence shows that good work is good for health. A bad working environment, characterised by low levels of job control and organisational fairness, and a high effort reward imbalance may contribute to poor health.
Wellbeing is essentially to how someone feels about various aspects of their life – their home life, their relationship with others and with their job. In the workplace, wellbeing was considered as a question of health and safety concerns at work. However, wellbeing in the workplace is a much broader issue. It is about improving the health levels of employees more generally. Employee wellbeing is more than physiological or mental ill health – it’s about optimising the health of all employees, not just reducing the number of staff who are diagnosed with medical conditions. Employee wellbeing also extends beyond health and into happiness and job satisfaction.
What factors are affecting employee wellbeing? There are of course many personal factors outside of the workplace which employers cannot control such as family circumstances, home environment, personal attributes and characteristics.
There are many additional factors affecting employees wellbeing which can be influenced by the employers, many of these factors centre around the job itself – where the employee have a degree of control of their work, clarity about responsibilities, variety of tasks, training and support. Do their working hours give them sufficient rest or flexibility?
Other factors controlled or influenced by the employer include the workplace environment, HR policies that will include fairness and transparency overpay and promotion decisions along with relationships with colleagues.
People spend a large proportion of their time at work, and employees therefore have a significant impact on their employee wellbeing with all of the factors above.
How employers can improve wellbeing at work:
- Create a mental health at work plan
- Build mental health awareness by making information more accessible
- Encourage open conversations
- Provide good working conditions to ensure employees have a healthy work life balance
- Promote effective people management, with line managers holding regular conversations about health and wellbeing with their staff
- Routinely monitor employee mental health
5 steps for a great start to employee health and wellbeing:
- Create a health and wellbeing strategy
- By considering the programme purpose and the reason why it is so important, you’ll help persuade senior management and employees to join the initiative. Initiative planning also sets you in great stead in terms of budget management, implementation and measuring success
- Encourage staff input
- Talk to your staff about what they want. Why not create an employee wellbeing survey and ask your staff for their opinion on what areas need improving? By looking at the different roles and potential health risks to your employee, you’re more like to prevent absence while providing the necessary support for your team. For example, if they sit at their desk for many hours during the day they could be at risk of poor posture and lack of exercise.
- Create a plan of action
- How do you plan to implement your wellbeing programme? What type of programme will you use and what are the benefits to your staff? How long will it run for and how will you monitor its effectiveness?
- Implement your plan
- To avoid overwhelming your staff, do not introduce everything at once. Start small and allow an adjustment period. For example, if you are not already, introduce flexibility and encourage staff with the office lurgy to stay at home to prevent team contamination.
Example of wellbeing programmes
Free or subsidise gym member can encourage staff to become active. Generally, staff who are fitter have healthier immune systems, which means they are less likely to take time off for illness. Exercise is also a great tool for tacking mood disorders and mental health
Some companies choose to provide access to counselling sessions for staff who need it. you can allocate a set number of sessions per staff members or offer discounts on sessions. Alternatively, for those staff who seek private therapy sessions, such as CBT or psychotherapy you can reduce further stress allowing time for them during the week to get to appointments